When describing why his startup mobile vehicle repair company is growing, RepairSmith co-founder and CEO Joel Milne doesn’t mince words.
“I like to use the analogy you don’t bring your toilet to the plumber,” Milne said in an interview with Forbes.com.
It’s a testament to how fast demand home and on-site delivery of products and services have grown out of the Covid-19 pandemic as consumers avoided visiting places of business such as stores, restaurants and auto dealerships.
Already in 650 markets in seven states in the U.S. the two-year old company just landed $42 million in Series B funding from a group of investors that includes TI Capital, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche Ventures and Spring Mountain Capital.
Indeed, RepairSmith was the product of a Mercedes-Benz incubator session as it sought to find an innovative way to service its customers’ vehicles.
But Milne, who was hired to launch and run the new company, said Mercedes quickly saw opportunity in looking at a wider market.
“They realized this needed to be a multi-brand company not a Mercedes company to be successful,” said Milne. “The luxury OEMs are figuring out the right strategy how to implement competitive service offerings. That was the genesis. How do we evolve our service? Let’s invest as an industry solution rather than as Mercedes.”
The fresh cash infusion builds on an original Series A investment by Mercedes parent company Daimler as seed money to get the company started. It will be used to power a rapid RepairSmith expansion to all major U.S. metropolitan areas by the end of next year , according to Milne.
“The team at RepairSmith is taking a long-view of the changing customer expectations and technology requirements in the car repair industry and designing solutions to improve the customer experience,” said Andreas Joerg, Director of Service & Parts Business and Warranty & Goodwill Mercedes-Benz Cars in a statement.
Confidence in RepairSmith was echoed by Ziad Ghandour, founder of TI Capital who said in a statement, “We believe there is a team that is bringing mobile service and repair into the digital age, using a robust technology platform backed by world-renowned automotive partners. “RepairSmith is ideally positioned to transform the marketplace.”
The company also announced Ghandour and John L. Steffens of Spring Mountain Capital were appointed to its board of directors. They are joining Joerg and Thomas Vogel of Mercedes-Benz AG.
Similar to other mobile vehicle repair services, motorists simply make their requests on the company’s website, submitting some basic information. Milne says RepairSmith’s differentiator is its technicians are employees, not contractors, most of whom have at least 10 years of experience and hold ASE certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. The company provides technicians with a specially-equipped van and tools. It’s all about quality control, he said.
The company doesn’t currently offer subscriptions but that’s part of software development included in its expansion plan, according to Milne.
Also part of its long-range goal is servicing electric vehicles. Since much of its business is related to used vehicles, there hasn’t been much demand or opportunity to handle battery-powered cars or trucks. But Milne says the company is already working on jumping into that segment.
“We are working with a number of EV manufacturers releasing cars that don’t have dealerships who will need a service partner from day one,” said Milne. “So we will certainly be at the top of the EV curve with this new generation coming up and will work with traditional OEMs as well.”
With its rapid expansion plans and business model focused on quality and premium image, Milne says RepairSmith’s mission is simple.
“We’re trying to disrupt the auto industry through e-commerce and last mile logistics.”
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Here's why investors like Warren Buffett don't like gold as an investment – CNBC
But not all investors are in love with gold. Warren Buffett has spoken out numerous times on his doubts, calling it an asset with “no utility.”
“It doesn’t produce anything and that’s why from a long-term perspective, it’s a hard asset to invest in,” Odyssey Capital Advisors chief investment officer Jason Snipe said. “It’s prudent portfolio management to have maybe a small allocation there but this is not an asset that you want to be heavily entrenched into if you’re looking for long-term yield.”
Since 2011, the S&P 500 has returned more than 16% on an annualized basis. The annualized return for the 10-year Treasury note sat at just over 2% in that time period. Gold, meanwhile, has fallen slightly over the past 10 years.
“Early on, you see strong performance, strong return or yield from commodities such as gold. Generally, as we move into a different cycle, gold is not as great a performer as we move into a normalized environment,” Snipe said.
Whether gold is an effective hedge against market volatility is also widely debated among experts.
“Gold is not necessarily a perfect hedge against inflation but it can be a strategic hedge against inflation,” according to Suki Cooper, executive director of precious metals research at Standard Chartered Bank.
“Various studies have shown us that if gold is held for 12 to 18 months before inflation takes higher and then it’s held for an additional 12 to 18 months while inflation moves higher, it can be a good inflation hedge,” Cooper said. “But if it’s just bought for a short period, let’s say a month, it may not prove to be an effective inflation hedge.”
Watch the video to find out more about how gold performs as an investment.
Ontario supports investment of $31.5M in Wellington, Perth county businesses – CTV News London
London, Ont. –
Ontario supports $31.5 million surge within the Southwestern Ontario economy with $2.6 million being invested in Wellington County through the Regional Development Program.
The investment by Wellington County manufacturers, which will build on domestic manufacturing is being supported by the Ontario government, will help to create 71 jobs and retain 150 jobs.
“Through the Regional Development Program, our government is making targeted investments in local manufacturers to help them create good, local jobs,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade in a statement.
“These projects are making a significant impact in communities and economies across the Wellington County region and Southwestern Ontario by helping to secure the private-sector investment that will support strong regional growth.”
The investments are as follows:
- Weberlane Manufacturing is investing $4.8 million to build a new 115,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Listowel.
- Nieuwland Feed & Supply is investing $16.2 million to consolidate its production facilities as well as build a second feed mill on the property.
- Bold Canine is investing $6.5 million to expand and renovate its facility, purchase equipment, and invest in research and development.
- Wellington Perforated Sheet and Plate is investing $3.9 million to develop new products, and produce more steel parts in-house.
The Regional Development Program for Eastern and Southwestern Ontario was launched by the government in November of 2019.
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